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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 July, 2005, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
T-Mobile boss admits pessimism
Jan Ulrich
Jan Ullrich's team director admits there is little opponents can do to stop Lance Armstrong winning a record seventh Tour de France on current form.

Armstrong crushed Ullrich by 66 seconds in Saturday's time trial on the opening day of his farewell Tour.

"Armstrong is just too strong, simple as that," said T-Mobile team director Walter Godefroot.

"Ullrich lost 40 seconds too many. It's not an ideal situation for us, although it's not catastrophic yet."

T-Mobile were seen as a major threat to Armstrong's bid to win a seventh straight Tour before retiring from cycling.

Ullrich, Kazakhstan rider Alexandre Vinokourov and last year's runner-up, Andreas Kloeden looked like a menacing trio.

We need to have some perspective - the race will really begin after the first stage in the Alps
Walter Godefroot

But over Saturday's 19km (11.8-mile) time trial from Fromentine to Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile, Vinokourov lost 51 seconds to Armstrong - and Kloeden finished even further behind.

Godefroot said: "That's the way things go and we have to accept it. What can we do to change it?"

Ullrich endured the worst luck imaginable before the start of the race.

During a training run Friday, he crashed and fell through the back window of a team car after failing to spot a signal to brake.

Cuts he suffered on his neck just missed his jugular vein.

The 1997 Tour champion needs to recover fast ahead of Tuesday's team time trial.

Godefroot was not optimistic, ahead of the that test, saying T-Mobile would do well to finish in "the top five".

"But he added: "We need to have some perspective and wait to see what happens in the mountains. The race will really begin after the first stage in the Alps."




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